So, a while back I bought the entire pile of I Dream of Jeannie episodes in one swell foop, and I began watching them this weekend. It’s really interesting to me that my memory of the show differs quite a bit from the reality. Then again, I first discovered IDOJ at age 10 and saw most of the eps in my teens.
First, the color. Ow, my eyes! When I started watching the show, it was in B&W, or our TV was, don’t remember. I had no idea the colors in the early eps were so damn garish. The opening cartoon background is bright red. Tony’s house is lime green and orange. Gak!
Second, though I read later that Jeannie was pregnant during Season One, I didn’t remember her looking pregnant, but she totally does. In one ep, she pops out of a cake with a bunch of veils draped over her, but the minute she turns she looks full-out preggers. Doesn’t take away from her gorgeousness at all, but I simply didn’t recall that.
Third, the show is stupid. I mean, really really stupid. I knew it was silly, but I thought it was at least full of witty jokes, and it just isn’t. The acting is OK ~ it’s the writing that sucks. Sorry Sidney Sheldon (RIP), but it does.
I did not recall that in these early eps Jeannie was so obsessed with marriage. It makes me cringe how she keeps flinging herself at Tony while he rejects her. The constant sexist housewifery put-downs make me cringe as well, but I fight the impulse to get pissed off because this was a half-century ago.
Fourth, I always disagreed with the idea that Bewitched was the better show, but I see I was wrong, at least from a writing standpoint. Bewitched did have better writing, at least compared to these early IDOJ eps. Not only that, but Bewitched had a cast of awesome supporting characters, like Sam’s mother and uncle, while Jeannie’s relatives are totally bland. (I’m not talking about the later eps where Barbara Eden plays her own mom and sister.) Two actresses have appeared as her mother so far, and they both are unfunny and add nothing to the show.
Fifth, Tony and Jeannie have undeniable chemistry, which is something I never felt between Sam and Derwood, or whatever his name was. The chemistry is always there ~ T&J are clearly super-attracted to each other and often can’t stop touching each other. Maybe that’s why I always liked this show while B left me cold (except for the witty scenes with Paul Lynde, etc.). The chemistry between the main characters is something that transcends the juvenile writing and lame jokes.
Sixth, in these early eps, Dr. Bellows has the best supporting role, not Roger, who is simply an idiot at best, and a greedy creeper at worst. I think he morphs into an inept, cute, puppy-dog type guy later on. We shall see if that memory is accurate! In any case, Bellows gets to have nicely sarcastic lines and I am enjoying his part a lot more than I remembered.
Side note: I finally discovered why Roger wears a green uniform while Tony’s is blue. Roger is in the army and Tony is in the air force ~ the two branches come together for space stuffs. I’ve been reading all sorts of IDOJ trivia online while I watch.
Seventh, bloopers! In the first season, the shows opened with a little recap, in case you might be confused by the complexity, lol. In the recap, Tony preps for his launch and Roger helps him put on his helmet… and Roger is wearing a wedding ring! (Or the hand they show that is supposed to be his is wearing one.) A theme of the show is that Roger is a bachelor on the prowl throughout all seasons, so this is totes stupid.
There are tons of other bloops. Forex, in one ep, Tony gives Jeannie a letter-sized white envelope to mail questions to him while he’s on a business trip. She turns into smoke and mails herself to him. But when he receives the envelope in his hotel room, it’s a large manila one!
The “ocean” behind Tony’s patio is the fakest looking thing imaginable. Looks like it was painted by a five year old. Not sure if that’s a blooper or just a stoopid.
Eighth, it was so fun to encounter the scene that first hooked me into the show, which is when Tony and Jeannie broke into the First National Bank of Baghdad so Tony could chant in the exact right spot to save Jeannie from disappearing. I like how the go-to line for all the “Persians” (which is what they call peeps in the Baghdad area on the show) is to chop off someone’s head, whether the scene was in the past or present. Just sayin’.
I’m in Season Two and am determined to watch all of these eps, five seasons worth, and torture you with my insights. Stay tuned! :D